Wednesday, April 29, 2009

African Friends and Money Matters

At the missions conference in Spain I had a long lunch with a girl who is working at an international school in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania.  About 3/4 the way through our conversation, I couldn't resist anymore: "So this is kind of a weird question, but do you have any theories, about, you know, Africa's issues?"  I don't know why it was such an awkward question to pose in the conversation.  Maybe it was because of how she talked about the Tanzanian kids she worked with with such a sense of humanity, and often "Africa's problems" conversations do not.  But, she laughed a little and started telling me stories about long-term relationships with kids in which she had seen moral growth and about "circles of responsibility" and how giving money to beggars wasn't always the best thing to do.  When I still wanted the theoretical side, she suggested this book, African Friends and Money Matters, an ethnography from an African perspective.  Interesting.  

Girl Talk loves his Girl Talk

"Greg Gillis’ laptop, which is the only instrument at a Girl Talk show, “sits on stage with a few hundred sweaty people jumping around, potentially jumping on it, potentially sweating [on it], puking, drinking, [potentially spilling] all sorts of bodily fluids all over it.” So Gillis has upped the ante and turned to a Panasonic Toughbook-74, a heavy-duty laptop intended for military use."

I want to work here: The Washington Institute

I heard about this place from my boss today.  Steve Garber, author of The Fabric of Faithfulness: Weaving together belief and behavior is involved in it or started it.  I need to look at it more but I think it looks awesome.  

travel notes: spain


How to deal with anxiety-
1. Stop caring
2. Study the culture exhaustively

Get a good guide book - without it you will be taking an architecture/street fashion/cuisine tour.

Download some of their traditional music to be your soundtrack whilest going around the city. The music was made and influenced by the culture - combining them provides a fuller picture.

Bring nail clippers and real scissors every time.

Being a small container of sink clothing detergent for dresses and underwear (always running out!).

No Iberia airlines again - no personal movie and small seats

Buy a leather jacket - look at rag-o-rama and garage sales as well as online now.

Take a backpack next time travelling?

Look for a good travel commentary online, combining cultural insights with entertaining historical information.

Pack pop-tarts in luggage for emergencies.

A better purse for around the city and in airports - fashionable, easy to get into for me, safe from pick-pocketers

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Bench Love Poem

In Islantilla, the place where the hotel was where we had the missions conference, there was a walkway by the beach that had palm trees and benches lining it. On nine of the benches was a poem in a series. I'll do my best to translate it.

It all began almost eleven months ago
and that day saw the...(i can't make it out)
that neither thought that they would live the most beautiful love story that any one had ever imagined.
he found in her the girl of his dreams
Yes, this is a dream from which I never want to wake.
This is like the fairy tales but you and I are the characters and the story has no end.
I love you, my Nipa
I only care about you
we said we would always be together
if you would want it, it would be so
forever and ever
you are my life
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Tavira, Portugal

I know! Ridiculous.  We took a day-trip to Tavira, Portugal.  Nothing much to say, all of the people who came to help out with the missionary kids took a trip and walked around the town.  Very sleepy, right near a river.  The tiles on the buildings were ridiculous.  I found out that my broken spanish is workable when ordering from a lunch bar/cerveceria-type place.  
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At the Palace in Madrid

Sharon and I went on a tour of the palace, and our tour went around a courtyard, which this is a picture looking out onto. The rooms were all garish, with everything covered in gold. One of the rooms had a quartet plus one, all of Stradivarius instruments. The beautiful thing about many of the historic spots in Spain that we went to was that they often had a student price, usually about 1/3 of regular cost. Awesome. Sharon was good and didn't take my old Mizzou student ID.
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Saturday, April 25, 2009

Madrid: questions answered, part 1 of many

Sharon and I were told to meet our friend Marc by the Bear statue in Puerta del Sol in Madrid. Our friend, via facebook, helpfully gave us the spanish phrase "donde esta el estatua del oso?" - not knowing our vast knowledge of the spanish language, based on my "advanced conversation" course in spanish at mizzou - securing me conversational ability with a second grader. well, we found it, and those madrinellos love that bear. por que?

"Why the bear and the madroño tree are the symbols of Madrid? -- You see them everywhere -- from the small bronze statue in the Puerta del Sol to the insignia on the side of city taxis: A squat bear on its hind legs attempting to eat the berries on a equally squatmadroño, or so-called strawberry tree. They are the official symbol of Madrid. But why? Opinions vary. The practical theory is that the bear standing on its hind legs with its front paws on the tree trunk represent possession and ownership of wood necessary for constructing buildings. The sentimental theory is based on the fact that bears love sweet things and constantly try to extract honey from beehives. According to legend, because they suffer from sore eyes, they get stung and bleed from their wounds to such an extent that it relieves them of some of the pain. Next, they grope around desperately for a madroño tree and start gobbling the fruit, whose bitterness belies its rich red exterior (it only looks like a strawberry) and shocks the palate into further reducing the pain by virtue of sheer distraction. So, masochistically, they rid themselves of their discomfort. The first theory makes sense as a metaphor for how Madrid has grown. The second is rather cute but doesn't seem to have any particular relevance. Take your pick.

from Frommers, the guide book we should have brought to Madrid.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

what's the text acronym for 'mouth gaping in shock'?


Department of: "That Sucks" - Brad Renfro

I remember Brad Renfro as the "slightly too old for me to have a serious crush on" celebrity of the JTT era.  He was in Tom and Huck, a classic with JTT.  His career has kind of sucked lately (IMDB that) and then he landed a role in the upcoming the Informers (the trailer has a lot of Bret Easton Ellis-y lines, reminds me of American Psycho) - which looks AWESOME by the way.

But...poor Renfro died of an overdose of heroin in January, before the movie has even come out.   Sucktown.

wait for the lauryn hill lyrics at the end

He Can Only Hold Her - Amy Winehouse

your own grandma, via youtube

I am the youngest child of a youngest child, and so all of my grandparents were dead by the time I was 15. Both sets of grandparents lived through the depression - the set I was closest to were millionaires by their 80s and still packed meals for road trips.  

Clara, 91, can be my surrogate grandma.  She's just like a real one - tells the same stories over and over, cooks weird things, and talks about her grandkids a lot.  She's precious.  

Monday, April 13, 2009


ahh.  i love peter bjorn and john.  my senior year of college i listened to writers block rotated with Beyonce's b'day probably 30 times each.  

also, this video roxors.

coming from the living room...

Comfortable - John Mayer

I forgot about this song. My sophomore year of college, a guy I did young life with asked, confused, why girls loved this song. I looked at him like the idiot he was for asking such a question.


this is where yo heart at:

notice the nipples - haha.

and probably done here at TRX tattoos.
"When people succumb to that temptation of ignoring challenges to their faith, they are in the end demonstrating that they are more committed to the feeling of having a lock on truth than they are to truth itself."

- Lost in Transmission: What we can know about the words of Jesus by Nicholas Perrin (response to Misquoting Jesus by Bart Ehrman) - for my Cross-Cultural Communications class

Edith Schaeffer on St. Louis in the mid-1940s:

"St. Louis - with its Forest Park - a wonderful park with rolling ground, trees, a lake, an art museum on top of a hill, a complete zoo, and a marvelous and constantly changing greenhouse where large trees andbasic plants remained, but where flower displays were a kind of succession of 'shows' fitting the season - was to be our home city.  St. Louis - with its Kiel Auditorium and emphasis on symphony concerts, with its lovely big downtown stores (before shopping malls began), when errands could be done so efficiently and one could have special luncheons or a refreshing 'bit' (a salad and an iced coffee) when meeting someone for conversation - was to open new doors for us.  St. Louis - where 'city homes' were solid red brick or stone, on tree-lined streets, some of the more affluent 'private streets' with their magnificent old wrought-iron gates taking one back to another period of history...St. Louis - a city with two universities, medical colleges, and especially good private schools, enormous hospital complexes some very successful business as well as Roman Catholic seminaries, and the Lutheran Concordia Seminary; a city with a wide cross-section of people form the country-club set to the underprivileged - was to be an education for us, in some new ways, as well as a challenge!  St. Louis - called in travel guides 'Gateway to the West' as it stands on the Mississippi River, which connects a fantastic range of places form Minneapolis to New Orleans - was to be our home city, and, as far as we knew, it was to be for a lifetime."

from Francis Schaeffer: An Authentic Life by Colin Duriez (for my Cross-Cultural Communications class)

The Bleeding Heart Show - The New Pornographers

Saturday, April 11, 2009


Make no mistake: if he rose at all
It was as His body;
If the cell’s dissolution did not reverse, the molecule reknit,
The amino acids rekindle,
The Church will fall.

It was not as the flowers,
Each soft spring recurrent;
It was not as His Spirit in the mouths and fuddled eyes of the
Eleven apostles;
It was as His flesh; ours.

The same hinged thumbs and toes
The same valved heart
That—pierced—died, withered, paused, and then regathered
Out of enduring Might
New strength to enclose.

Let us not mock God with metaphor,
Analogy, sidestepping, transcendence,
Making of the event a parable, a sign painted in the faded
Credulity of earlier ages:
Let us walk through the door.

The stone is rolled back, not papier-mache,
Not a stone in a story,
But the vast rock of materiality that in the slow grinding of
Time will eclipse for each of us
The wide light of day.

And if we have an angel at the tomb,
Make it a real angel,
Weighty with Max Planck’s quanta, vivid with hair, opaque in
The dawn light, robed in real linen
Spun on a definite loom.

Let us not seek to make it less monstrous,
For our own convenience, our own sense of beauty,
Lest, awakened in one unthinkable hour, we are embarrassed
By the miracle,
And crushed by remonstrance.

(thanks to Mary)

Google Earth Dead Pixel

"Preceding the lenses of the Google Earth satellite photo session, the Dutch artist Helmut Smith charred a small portion of grass. Genius!"

Airstream Driver - Gomez